The L-1A visa allows an international company to transfer a foreign worker who qualifies as an executive or manager to one of its U.S. branches or subsidiaries. The executive is allowed to live in work in the United States for a period of less than seven years.
Since the L-1A is a highly sought-after visa, it is essential that all information be filled out accurately and truthfully. Incomplete information will result in the denial of the application.
Forms Required for an L-1A Visa
The primary documentation for the L-1A visa is form I-129, which is completed and filed by the employer but includes information about both the company and the individual. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has very particular instructions for completing the form. All answers should be typed or printed in either blue or black ink. Employers need to fill out a response for every single section; if a certain section does not apply to the individual or company applying, they should write “N/A.” If a question asks for a quantity, and that quantity is zero, the employer should respond with “none.” No boxes should be left blank.
An explanation page is included if any additional information is necessary. It is encouraged that employers make use of this section, as giving a fuller account of the applicant’s situation usually results in more favorable treatment. Finally, employers should include a duplicate copy of the application and all supporting documentation.
Where to File an L-1A Visa
The two processing centers for L-1A visas are in Vermont and California. E-filing is available and is usually the easiest option. However, if an applicant wishes to file a physical copy, the addresses for the clearing centers can be found in the official instructions for the I-129. Most applications are subject to a $325 application fee as well as a $500 “fraud detection” fee. Payment can be made by check or money order, payable to Department of Homeland Security. Payment is non-refundable and must match the exact amount that is owed. Applicants can verify the amount that they pay at the USCIS web site or by calling 1-800-375-5283
When to File an L-1A Visa
Applications should be made as soon as it is known that a foreign employee’s services will be needed in the United States. At a very minimum, it is advisable to file at least 45 days before the scheduled beginning of employment. Any falsified information on the application is punishable with a denied application and potential further legal action.
L-1A Visa Application
Much of the information that is asked for on form I-129 is straightforward and deals with the employees past work history, residence history, and qualifications. Employees must fit a certain category that demonstrates that his or her employment in the United States is necessary for the proper functioning of the parent company. Employer-based information includes the size of the company and the scope of its operations as well as information about past visas that have been filed, successfully or unsuccessfully. Thus, it is important for employers to do their best to successfully apply on their employees behalf the first time they file.
Let us help you
Our firm has extensive experience filing L-1A visas successfully. If you need help with any part of the process, please contact us today by calling 703-594-4040 or using our online contact form.